Three mortar shells fired from Syria landed in the Golan Heights on Friday evening, causing neither injury nor damage.
Two projectiles were discovered in an open area in the northern Golan Heights, after having triggered sirens in the Golan Regional Council.
The sirens rang moments after a mortar shell landed in another open area, also in the northern Golan Heights. There were no injuries or damage reported in that incident either.
The Israeli military said both incidents appeared to be spillover fire from the raging civil war in neighboring Syria.
The IDF fired back, hitting a position affiliated with the Assad regime, which it said was the source of the mortar fire, military sources said.
The incident occurred as US Defense Secretary James Mattis visited Israel. He met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman earlier Friday, and warned Syria’s President Bashar Assad against any further use of chemical weapons. “They’d be ill-advised to try to use any again,” said Mattis. “We’ve made that very clear with our strike.”
Errant fire from fighting in the war-torn country has been common over the past several years, and a number of serious incidents in recent weeks have led to high tensions between Syria and Israel.
The IDF has frequently retaliated against stray projectile strikes inside Israeli territory.
Earlier this month, an Israeli teenager was struck by a bullet apparently fired from Syria. The teen, named as 17-year-old Aviya Frenkel, was on a hike with friends on the Israeli-Syrian border just south of Quneitra.
There was no firm confirmation on the circumstances of the incident, but the direction of fire, the diameter of the bullet and closeness to the Syrian frontier point to stray fire from battles across the border.
Last month, tensions escalated quickly between Israel and Syria after Israeli jets hit an arms transfer meant for Hezbollah near Palmyra, with Syrian air defenses firing missiles at the planes.
One missile was intercepted by Israel’s Arrow missile defense battery, military officials said, in the first reported use of the advanced system. It was the most serious incident between the two countries since the Syrian civil war began six years ago.
A number of additional airstrikes attributed to Israel followed as did a drone strike that reportedly killed a member of a Syrian pro-regime militia.